Over the past numerous years, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the manufacturers of Zofran (ondansetron), have faced lawsuits for falsely advertising their medications. Recently, as more and more pregnant women taking Zofran have infants with birth defects, GSK is once again in the hotseat for falsely representing another drug. The following cases are few of the recently-filed lawsuits against GSK after the plaintiffs took Zofran and had babies born with serious birth defects, or were forced to terminate the pregnancy because of severe medical issues.
Heart Defect Lawsuit
One of the most recent Zofran lawsuit filed against GSK occurred in May, 2015, when a family from Ohio filed their case after their baby was born with heart defects.
According to court documents, the family claims that GSK concealed important medical information that Zofran may cause harm to an unborn infant. GSK never once said that the medication was dangerous. In fact, the company marketing it as a safe treatment for morning sickness.
The infant’s mother was prescribed Zofran after battling morning sickness during her first trimester. Aside from morning sickness, her pregnancy was normally throughout the duration of it. However, only a few days before she delivered, her infant’s heartbeat started to abnormally decrease. In March, 2006, she delivered a baby girl who was diagnosed with a “right ventricle heart defect.”
The baby was taken to a neonatal intensive care unit (ICU) shortly after birth, where physicians were unable to help her after her heart gave out. Three days later, the infant girl passed away.
As well as hiding important information from the public, the plaintiffs are also claiming that GSK didn’t properly investigate the effects of Zofran on unborn babies before marketing it to pregnant women. The company has continuously promoted the drug as an off-label use for morning sickness.
Birth Defects Lawsuit
In April, 2014, a female plaintiff from Randolph, Massachusetts filed a Zofran lawsuit after being forced to end her pregnancy due to severe abdominal defects that were picked up during a routin ultrasound. The plaintiff filed her case in the United States District Court of Massachusetts’ Eastern Division.
As with several other Zofran lawsuits, the plaintiff took the medication for morning sickness. She claims it was prescribed as off-label use for her bouts of nausea and vomiting that began around May, 2013, during the first trimester of her pregnancy.
During her 6th month of pregnancy while undergoing a routine examination, the physician revealed that her baby,
“Had developed severe physical malformations, including […] life-threatening abdominal defects. Plaintiff writes that she was forced to ‘terminate her pregnancy on or about October 16, 2013.’”
Zofran Lawsuit After Numerous Birth Defects
In February, 2015, Tomisha LeClaire, of Suffolk County, Massachusetts, filed a Zofran lawsuit against GSK after her baby was born with low set ears, hearing loss, heart defects, an inguenal hernia, and facial dysmorphia.
Per court documents, LeClaire was prescribed Zofran during her first trimester of pregnancy to help with morning sickness, but she was never warned of the risks beforehand. She stated that had she known all of the dangers involved, she would have never taken the medication.
Along with suing GSK for her child’s severe birth defects, LeClaire also wants to warn other pregnant women of the dangers of Zofran. According to court documents,
“Plaintiff brings claims for compensatory and punitive damages, as well as equitable relief in an effort to ensure that similarly situated mothers-to-be are fully informed about the risks, benefits and alternatives attending drugs marketed for use in pregnant women, and such other relief deemed just and proper arising from injuries and birth defects as a result of exposure to Zofran.”
Congenital Heart Defects Lawsuit
On April 17, 2015, a Texarkana, Texas plaintiff filed a Zofran lawsuit against GSK after her baby was born with severe birth defects. As with other cases, the plaintiff was prescribed Zofran during the first trimester of pregnancy for morning sickness. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Texas, Texarkana Division.
The plaintiff was prescribed Zofran in the early 90s, which indicates that for over a decade, GSK has been falsely promoting the medication. In addition, the court documents indicate that,
“Between 1992 and 2011, [GlaxoSmithKline] avoided conducting studies or trials because they would have hampered its marketing of Zofran and decreased profits.”
Court documents also indicates that the plaintiff’s infant son was born with a “heart murmur, fluid on the brain [hydrocephaly], thickened arteries and multiple developmental delays.”
Zofran is Not for Pregnant Women
Although Zofran(also known by its other brand name of Zuplenz) lawsuits are still relatively new, there have been several other lawsuit with the same basic premise: pregnant women were prescribed Zofran for off-label use for morning sickness, and their babies were born with birth defects.
Some doctors even suggest that the risk of birth defects are so small that they feel comfortable prescribing Zofran to pregnant women. Regardless of how small the risks are, however, the fact is the more and more women are filing lawsuits because infants are being born with serious birth defects. In addition, whether physicians feel comfortable prescribing Zofran to pregnant women may or may not be true, but numerous doctors were offered kickbacks by GSK if they prescribed the medication for morning sickness.
If your infant has suffered due to Zofran, keep in mind that you have the legal right to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and much more. GSK should be held liable for failing to perform in-depth studies on the medication before promoting it for use by pregnant women.